Hundreds of people say taking the antipsychotic Abilify made them compulsive. They claim the medication created compulsive behaviors, including gambling, eating, sex and spending. They have filed lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. saying they weren’t adequately warned. More than 1,600 pending Abilify lawsuits may end in a settlement soon.
If you or a loved one suffered from adverse events like compulsive behaviors after Abilify use, you may be eligible for compensation.
*UPDATE: A September 2018 deadline to create a framework for a global Abilify settlement passed without an announcement from either side. The court is still moving forward with plans for a second round of bellwether trials. Attorneys on both sides are narrowing a list of potential test cases to 10 candidates by December 2018.
Abilify is a drug used to treat psychological conditions, including schizophrenia and mania. But for some people, the medication causes other psychological problems. This can ruin lives.
Hundreds of people have filed Abilify lawsuits. They say Abilify caused them to compulsively gamble, spend money or eat. Lawsuits accuse the drug’s makers of failing to warn patients and doctors that Abilify can cause these and other compulsive behaviors.
Other compulsive behaviors covered in the lawsuits include suicide attempts and thoughts, as well as compulsively viewing pornography and playing video games.
Abilify lawsuits also blame the drug for tardive dyskinesia. This condition causes involuntary movements.
As of September 2018, a total of 1,675 Abilify lawsuits were pending in federal court, according to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Those cases are organized into multidistrict litigation.
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is the method federal courts use to manage large numbers of lawsuits involving the same issues and defendants. A judge in the Northern District of Florida is presiding over the Abilify MDL.
On May 2, 2018, Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers ordered the parties in the Abilify MDL to finalize a framework for a global Abilify settlement. Attorneys representing both sides were given until Sept. 1, 2018, to hammer out the details. The deadline passed without an announcement from either side.
At the same time, the court had continued moving forward with plans for bellwether trials. Attorneys were told to have a list of 10 potential cases for the court to consider by December 2018.
Abilify lawyers continue to accept new cases of people who experienced compulsive behaviors, suicidal thoughts or involuntary movements.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. are the two companies responsible for Abilify. Bristol-Myers Squibb says in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that the companies are facing Abilify lawsuits in various state courts, as well as in Canada.
In May 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to consolidate 42 Abilify lawsuits into multicounty litigation. Multicounty litigation is New Jersey state court’s version of an MDL.
In August 2018, 17 plaintiffs filed lawsuits in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Lawsuits claim Abilify caused compulsive gambling, shopping, sex and binge eating.
On July 5, 2018, a federal judge in West Virginia ruled against a man who sued Bristol-Myers Squibb. That lawsuit said Donald W. Proffitt Jr. developed tardive dyskinesia as a result of taking Abilify.
Tardive dyskinesia is a condition of the nervous system in which the sufferer is afflicted with involuntary movements. It typically involves facial tics, jaw clenching and clucking, and eye blinking.
Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Faber noted in his opinion and order that Abilify labels carried detailed warnings about tardive dyskinesia.
People who say they suffer from life-altering Abilify side effects file lawsuits to recover expenses. They say the drug caused them to engage in compulsive behaviors.
For example, compulsive gamblers file Abilify gambling lawsuits seeking reimbursement for their losses. Compulsive eaters may seek compensation for medical costs, including weight-loss surgery. People who engaged in hypersexual activity may seek compensation for their financial and emotional costs from a divorce, for example.
The main goal of these lawsuits is to restore the injured person’s quality of life as much as possible.
You may be eligible for compensation through a lawsuit if you or your loved one used Abilify and experienced harmful compulsive behaviors that resulted in financial, mental and physical damages.
You may be more likely to recover money from Abilify’s makers if you have proof of losing at least $10,000 to compulsive gambling or compulsive spending, or proof of excess weight gain from compulsive eating.
Abilify lawyers are also accepting cases on behalf of people who took Abilify and experienced involuntary movements or suicidal thoughts.
The best way to go about filing an Abilify lawsuit is to talk to a qualified Abilify lawyer. Most experienced Abilify lawyers will represent clients at no charge until a settlement or jury verdict is won.
If you think you want to file an Abilify lawsuit, it is important to start the process as soon as possible. This is because statutes of limitations restrict how long after an event you can file a lawsuit.
The time limit to file varies from state to state but is usually a year or two. But sometimes the limits can be affected by other factors.
It’s best to consult with a qualified Abilify attorney to determine if your claim is within the statute of limitations for your state.
Lawsuits say Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka knew or should have known that Abilify carries an increased risk of uncontrollable compulsive behaviors, such as compulsive gambling.
The companies are accused of designing and manufacturing a defective drug as well as failing to warn patients or doctors about the risk of compulsive behaviors.
According to lawsuits, the drug’s U.S. label made no mention of pathological gambling or compulsive behaviors for about 14 years. Yet, Abilify’s labeling in Europe and Canada warned about the risk of pathological gambling.
In January 2016, the companies added “pathological gambling” to the Postmarketing Experience section of the U.S. label. However, they made no mention of gambling or compulsive behaviors in the patient medication guide. This is the source of information most likely viewed by doctors and patients.
Lawsuits also blame the company for not warning of the risk of involuntary movements.
The Abilify MDL judge gave lawyers until Sept. 1, 2018, to outline an Abilify settlement. However, no global settlement had been announced as of Sept. 24, 2018.
The judge’s May 2018 order came a few days after the sides settled three Abilify lawsuits that had been scheduled to go to trial. Those three cases were to serve as bellwethers.
Bellwether trials are the first trials in MDLs. They are selected to be representative.
In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid more than $515 million to settle allegations that it illegally marketed Abilify.
The U.S. Department of Justice accused Bristol-Myers Squibb of promoting Abilify for pediatric use and to treat dementia-related psychosis. Neither of these uses was FDA-approved.
The settlement included more than $25 million in profits made from marketing Abilify for the unapproved uses.
The Justice Department joined seven whistleblower lawsuits. The whistleblowers who filed the complaints were to receive about $50 million of the settlement.
In December 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay a $19.5 million settlement to 43 states and the District of Columbia.
State governments claimed the company engaged in unfair or deceptive trade practices when marketing Abilify. The case involved the same practices alleged in the 2007 federal suit.
There is no known Abilify class action lawsuit in the U.S.
Hundreds of Canadians filed an Abilify class action lawsuit in 2017.
Class actions are usually difficult to file in the U.S. because the courts and legislatures have placed restrictions on them. Class actions are lawsuits in which one case is filed on behalf of a large number of people who have similar claims in common.
Instead of class actions, large groups of U.S. plaintiffs usually file individual lawsuits. When enough of these lawsuits are filed, the courts often organize them so a single judge can issue pretrial rulings that apply to all cases. This allows for efficiency.
In federal court, this method of organizing cases is referred to as multidistrict litigation.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
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